June 2022

Dear friends!

The Lord gave me the opportunity to visit various places in Europe and minister, especially in Moldova, Transnistria, in the city of Dnestrovsk, where my dear friend and pastor Yuriy Chernyavskiy lives.

During all this time in different countries, it was possible to help several families of Ukrainian refugees, mainly by providing contacts as well as by personal communication, where there was an opportunity to testify about God. We also managed to talk to some refugees in France, Great Britain, and the USA. Friends, relatives, and acquaintances in such countries as Latvia, Poland, England, Germany, France, the USA, and Portugal responded by providing some assistance with housing. In Germany, we could accommodate refugee families in the Evangelical Mission in the suburbs of Stuttgart.

Unfortunately, due to the war, many Christians are losing peace and love, and allow resentment, hatred, enmity, anger, and unforgiveness in their hearts.

Jesus once said to those listening to Him: “There were present at that time some who told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

It is interesting that Jesus Christ does not give a political assessment of Pilate’s actions here. Nevertheless, it is sad to hear from some Christians who almost approve of this calamity that has befallen Ukraine. After all, God forbid, but this could and may happen to Russia. We need to be careful with our words. According to the Scripture above, neither party can claim a special relationship with God and justify any calamity or other evil because of their supposedly less spiritual condition. Patriotism sometimes makes us blind to the objective truth. For, as Christ said, unless they repent, they will all likewise perish. Only that death will be eternal and tormenting.

Nor can I accept those whose theological views have suddenly changed according to the present circumstances. We cannot in any way justify violent actions and, on top of that, call for them and teach that one can glorify any country. Unfortunately, because of this deviation from the truth I have to lose friends and acquaintances, among which are even ministers. Alas, it is sometimes much easier to talk to refugees than to people under the influence of political propaganda from both sides.

Recently I read about the revival in Indonesia. This happened just as the Indonesian communists were trying to seize power in the 1960s. Christians knew what it could turn into for them. However, God intervened in the situation and miraculously saved the two generals from the massacre of the Communists. As a result, having escaped, a little later they were able to influence the outcome of the revolution that had begun, and, ultimately the communists failed. At the same time, because of the atrocities that the communists perpetrated against political opponents, the inhabitants became indignant, especially some Muslim religious groups, and they began to mercilessly kill everyone who adhered to the communist ideology. And do you know who showed mercy to the persecuted communists, giving them shelter and showing them love? Christians. Those whom the communists considered enemies and whom they would have dealt with cruelly if they had seized power. As a result, many communists turned to God and found salvation, but the establishment of a communist regime in the country was thwarted.

This is how genuine Christians have done throughout the ages. Evil cannot be overcome by evil, but only by good. Do you know what happened next? Muslims began to persecute Christians, finding a pretext that they were allegedly on the side of the communists since they showed them hospitality and mercy.

What else does Scripture teach us about today’s unrest in the world?

Let’s not forget that the Roman Empire was the occupying side and, since it was a pagan power, then, undoubtedly, unjust acts of violence were committed by the Roman troops. One of them was fulfilled on the orders of Pilate, as we read above. It is for this reason that the Zealots arise to throw off the yoke of Roman rule. However, these rebels did not find common ground with Jesus and were even disappointed that He did not share their patriotic sentiments. They doubted that this was the promised Messiah-Liberator, as they expected, and He, in their eyes, was a weak person. He did not call for an uprising, did not express a political opinion on certain events, but, on the contrary, taught to pay taxes that belong to Caesar. To the Zealots, this sounded treacherous.

Moreover, when Paul wrote about submission to the authorities (Rom. 13:1-2), at that time the emperor of Rome was Nero, already known for his cruelty and callousness. Here the Bible warns us: “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Rom. 13:2). It does not mean we should stay passive in social life but realize when God wants to use you to make a change and when you are just being rebellious. In all of Paul’s epistles, we do not even see a hint of taking a certain political position. Even the disciples, after the resurrection of Christ, expected from Him the restoration of the earthly kingdom, forgetting that He came to establish the Kingdom of peace in our hearts.

Both Paul and Peter were clearly patriots of Israel, but, nevertheless, Peter goes to the Roman military man Cornelius to show the way of salvation and, at the same time, not a word about his past and not discussing the suffering of Israel, or criticizing wicked Roman politicians. And also many of the Roman soldiers, who came to John the Baptist for baptism, asked what they should do. They might not have come if John the Baptist had been preaching about politics. In a word, it’s really hard to stand aside when atrocities are taking place, yet the Lord wants us to love our enemies and do good to them.

I would not want to become a witness to violence against my own children during the war. However, the actions of the Apostles Paul and Peter astonish me.

I think that when some ministers compare the current situation in Ukraine with the case of a girl and a rapist father, justifying calls to take up arms, it is wrong to compare it with the war in general. And then no one demands to kill the father-rapist but to punish him in the form of imprisonment. But even in this case, you need to be able to forgive and, so that even such a criminal as he still has a chance to repent and find peace with God.

Oh, how different Christianity is today! Due to the abundance of lawlessness, love is growing cold in many, and selfishness and hostilities lead to a compromise with the one who is called the enemy of human souls; note, human, no matter what nationality they may be. And this is not surprising, because some of the characteristics of end-time believers were mentioned by Paul: “Know this: In the last days perilous times will come. 2 Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, despisers of good, 4 traitors, reckless, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Having visited Transnistria with my family, I understand the concern of Evangelical Christians, because unfortunately, my homeland begins to persecute them in places, especially in the Donbas region forbidding gatherings of Evangelical churches. But what is our attitude towards any person, regardless of nationality? What kind of homeland are we looking for? The one that will someday be ruled by the Antichrist? He will rule over the entire world and this is inevitable, and we will not be able to prevent it.

Can the borders separate brothers and sisters in Christ? Couldn’t the blood of Christ have been able to unite us in a union of love and give us hope for a better Heavenly Homeland? Are we really attached to the earthly things with our hearts so much that we are ready to break off relations and call for violence, adding more evil to the existing evil?

The Christians who suffered in the first and subsequent centuries suffered at the hands of their own countrymen and did not put their trust in an earthly kingdom. We will always be strangers here. After all, tomorrow, even in the United States, a liberal president will come to power and outlaw Christians with “conservative fundamental” views, and we will become enemies in such a wonderful country. It makes no sense to send a son to shed blood for the sake of protecting the country, in which sooner or later the Kingdom of the Antichrist will be established, it makes no sense, be it Russia, Ukraine, or any other country. This is only the beginning of the unrest of the nations. And this is the beginning of what awaits Christians around the world. Christians will be divided and are already being divided. The whole world lies in wickedness without exception.

Travel the world and ask around what horrors are happening in the homes of poor children who are being raped, beaten, and sold by their parents in Eastern Europe. Does evil have a nationality? The children of God get simply confused and call evil good, and good evil, ambiguously approaching various aspects of life, as it suits them and as their own patriotism dictates to them. But who will protect the children? Who will raise his voice for the voiceless and for their truth?

Many ministers are on a dangerous path that do not build up or lead to peace. Our Christian society is becoming more and more militarized. At the same time, the enemy of human souls is rejoicing that he manages to draw Christians into evil. This deception carries many dangers. We can appeal to, write, petition government leaders, and yes, pray, and what must come to pass will inevitably take place, as Christ said.

The world will change and with it those Christians who are like the clouds, carried along by winds of various doctrines, whose theology changes according to circumstances. Such will become easy prey for the Antichrist, who will bring “peace” and “economic prosperity.” And then, indeed those who will refuse to accept the Antichrist, in their eyes, will become enemies of the “good”, enemies of the world society. New socialism of a new type.

I am ashamed to hear about the atrocities of the soldiers, and may those affected by this disaster forgive them, but, most of all, I am ashamed of the Christians. The hypocrisy and callousness of contemporary Pharisees is striking, and one should not be afraid of them, but, on the contrary, boldly expose them and not become part of their “yeast”, no matter who they are.

Seek peace and strive for it, winning the souls of loved ones, compatriots, and enemies for Christ.

God bless you!

Max Volkov in Christ